Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

Spermicide for Birth Control - Topic Overview

Advantages of spermicides

  • They do not affect future fertility for either the woman or the man.
  • They are used only at the time of sexual intercourse.
  • They are safe to use while breast-feeding (birth control that contains estrogen affects milk supply).
  • They are less expensive than hormonal methods of birth control.
  • They are safe for women who have other health problems (birth control that contains estrogen makes some health conditions worse).

Disadvantages of spermicides

Failure rates for barrier methods are higher than for most other methods of birth control. Other disadvantages include the following:

  • Spermicides cause an extra discharge from the vagina. Women who use spermicides should not douche for at least 8 hours after intercourse so that the spermicide continues to work to prevent pregnancy. (Douching is not recommended for women in general.)
  • Some people are allergic to nonoxynol-9, the active ingredient in most spermicides. They can develop itching or sores in the vagina or on the penis, which make it more likely that HIV can be passed from an infected person during sex.
  • The nonoxynol-9 in spermicides may also increase the risk of getting HIV/AIDS from an infected partner.
  • Some people are embarrassed to use spermicide and a barrier method or worry that it may interrupt foreplay or intercourse. This can create a problem with using it every time they have sex.
1|2
1|2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 03, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Spermicide for Birth Control Topics

Today on WebMD

Birth Control Options
Slideshow
mother and daughter talking
Evaluator
 
Period Questions
Slideshow
Condom Quiz
Quiz
 
Forgot To Take Your Birth Control Pills
Article
pelivic pain slideshow
Slideshow
 
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
Article
Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch
Article
 
Comparing Birth Control Pill
Article
New Birth Control Pill
Video
 
HPV Vaccine Future
Article
Young couple holding hands
Quiz